Chatora, which opened at the end of December 2019, is blessed with a capable and experienced kitchen team. The restaurant is in a parade of shops on Kew Road in Richmond, the restaurant split into several small dining rooms. The menu showcases the food of northern India.
Aloo papdi chaat is a classic street food dish, with potato, chickpeas, yoghurt, crunchy sev (thin gram flour noodles), papdi (whole wheat crackers), flavoured with sweet tamarind chutney and spices. This was particularly well balanced, with the different textures of the crunchy sev and papdi combining well with the tedner chickpeas and potato (14/20). Anjeer lamb chop (15/20) was marinated using figs (anjeer means fig), yoghurt and spices and was served with green peas and mint sauce. The lamb was very tender and the spices clear, distinct and working really well with the lamb (15/20).
Angare chicken tikka had been marinated with yoghurt, chilli and ginger and was exceptionally tender, the spices blended carefully. We are all familiar with chicken tikka but this was unusually good, of the sort of level that you can find in top restaurants in India but rarely in the UK (15/20). Kasaundi jhinga (mustard prawns) was also excellent, the prawns quite large, lightly cooked and again with a good spicy marinade that had permeated the flesh of the shellfish (14/20).
Chicken biryani was served in a copper pan with its pastry seal, which was duly cut open at the table to release the aromas of the spices that had been cooking with the rice and chicken pieces. This was enjoyable, but the rice could have been more aromatic and the meat a touch less dry, so wasn’t quite of the same level as some of the other dishes (13/20). Pahadi chicken curry is a dish from the mountains of northern India, whose sauce involves cloves, ginger, garlic and fennel seeds amongst other spices. This had an enjoyable, robust and spicy flavour (14/20).
Cauliflower florets (kadhi gobi) were excellent, the cauliflower lightly cooked and retaining their texture well, having nicely absorbed the spices that they were cooked with (14/20). Mahkani dhal is a classic dish that is cooked overnight, and good versions, such as this, have a deep, smoky flavour (14/20). Breads were also well made, both naan and roti being soft and pliable (14/20).
Service was good and the pace of dishes was fine, even on this completely full service. The bill came to £67 per person including beer. Chatora is producing genuinely classy Indian food, and the residents of Richmond are lucky to have it.
Further reviews: 15th Mar 2020